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Concepts 022

Stool/Irreducible Complexity

Using the Stools

This stool is a metaphor for irreducible complexity: if all pieces of an object are not present, there is no functionality and the pieces that are present have ho use.

There is also a stool that is broken in this series. It does not illustrate irreducible complexity, but rather a malfunction that renders the whole unusable. The stool is a good object because it can be used as a platform or support for something else, which extends the usefulness of these graphics.

The downloads are in two formats:

  1. EMFs that are editable like clipart
  2. PNGs that can only accept color when used in PowerPoint 2007. The picture recoloring tools can be used to apply tints.

Customizing your the Stools

Adjust size

As with any drawing that has many fields and is part of a set, all of the size adjustments should be made at one time. Group the individual drawings and place them all on one slide, then resize all at once. Hold the shift key down so that the drawings scale and do not skew. After sizing, redistribute the drawings to the appropriate slides.

Color variations

EMF versions: both fill and line colors work best with this type of drawing. The lines – a slightly slightly darker color works best – add definition and clarity. Use either browns or a color that matches your palette – your choice.

PNG versions: color can only be applied if you are using PowerPoint 2007. Use the picture recoloring tools to add tints.

3D variations

Don't use 3D with these drawings


Don't use with this type of framework. Shadows won't add interest or depth.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Gradients can be used to add the suggestions of depth and shadow. Make sure the gradient variation is not too extreme.


Download the animated example for a possible animation scheme. This scheme uses a motion path and a partial spin to "peal"

the partial stool off of the complete stool. Additionally, fades and reveals will work well.

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